Galway city has been gearing up for the royal visit with a frantic spring clean, detailed security checks and even a new commemorative cocktail.
As Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall kick off their visit today, a major Garda operation has been put in place, with roads set to be cordoned off.
Meanwhile, the locations the royal couple are set to visit have been working hard to put the finishing touches to preparations. Food fit for a duchess will greet Camilla when she visits the House Hotel in the city.
She will be offered a selection of the finest fare the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer, meeting those behind the produce during the showcase.
But the highlight of the visit will be a new cocktail created in her honour.
“We’re calling it The Duchess and it includes Mumm champagne, Dingle gin and elderflower, and we understand she is a big fan of elderflower,” said Aislinn O’Driscoll, sales and marketing manager at the hotel.
Preparations are also under way at St Nicholas’s National School in the Claddagh, where the duchess will visit almost 300 children and 70 staff at the DEIS school, which caters for children from 42 different nationalities.
Principal Michael Gallagher said the school had been “a hive of activity” over recent weeks.
“The band has been practising non-stop. It’s a huge morale boost for everyone taking part,” he said.
Camilla will join a school assembly presenting certificates to those involved in the Suas literacy support programme.
During her visit, Camilla will be presented with a Claddagh brooch from Dillon’s Jewellers.
And student Charlotte Elizabeth Curran will present her with a bouquet.
The second-class student was chosen not just because she shares a name with the prince’s baby granddaughter, but because today also marks her eighth birthday.
Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said staff were looking forward to welcoming Charles to the facility.
“He’ll have a chance to talk to some of our staff about their work in relation to the impact of climate change on the oceans, sustainable fisheries, and mapping the seabed,” he said.